• Julie Roe

The Remote Life - Who, What, When, Where, How

Online remote work, what it is and what it would mean for you..
The laptop lifestyle. Is it for you?

The never-ending search for the dream job. Be it for your health, your family, your hobbies, or your bucket list lifestyle, we've all got a reason for the pursuit. Remote jobs have been highly sought after in recent years, so much so that there have never before been so many scams out there targeting those eager to land one. LinkedIn is plagued by them, and anywhere you Google, you have to wade through adverts selling online job-search memberships, courses, or "paid" survey scams.

And with this new wave of working lifestyle comes an entirely new wave of under qualified and desperately eager workers who just want to work from home. But let's talk for a second about it. What is remote work? Working from home or on the go is not a new concept. It's just never been as readily accessible as it is in this day and age. For some, it is a part time arrangement with their employer. They physically show up for a certain number of hours, and continue their administrative work from their home office. For others, they can phase out of their attendance and handle their task and project management with very infrequent trips in to the office. For others, it's either getting in with an online-only company, or a way of life they build from the ground up. But of all the companies rated on Kununu, only 25.1% offer flexible working hours. Only 9% offer the means to work from home. And yet we see a steady trend: Of all the top rated companes of 4+ stars, 51% offer flexible hours, and 17.4% offer the ability to work from home. I believe this trend is testament to the fact that providing flexibility and taking care of your staff means they'll take care of you. But what does this remote life look like? Is it really all vacations, coffee shops, and working from bed? Let's break down a few misconceptions.

Time management. If you think creating your own remote lifestyle business is all sleeping in and using those fancy (but frightening) bathtub trays with a wine glass holder, don't get ahead of yourself. Being able to manage your timeclock and make both worlds work around one another is still a chore, if not more so. It's harder than you think to really focus on work at hand when the chores pile up, the family calls you, and you've got a limited amount of time to devote to work before your home life errands come due. Especially if some of those around you have the "working from home is lazy work, you're just killing time" mentality. Then they won't see your efforts, how swamped or tired you are, and will only cause tension in your home. Time management is vital. Some people thrive in the conventional work life vibe best because it keeps them at it.

Which brings me to the next point I think on quite often. Focus. With as many distractions as we have to juggle in this day and age, I commonly think back to a study I read someplace in which they reported that your brain really takes about 15 minutes to "warm up" and get into a task before picking up productivity. With each distraction, we deprive our brains of this, and given enough of this, it begins to effect our brain's capacity for focus. Do you have the environment to devote to your work life? And what about those around you? Family and friends, even past or current coworkers, scoffing at your work or not taking you seriously. You've "gone the way of the hipster freelance lifestyle," which doesn't ever pay the bills or gain traction. They never land clients and are always hustling those around them to hire them. That's the brush they will paint you with. Misconceptions such as this can cause tension between spouses, family, members of the household who are upset that you're neglecting a household chore and who think you aren't really "that busy with your silly job idea." Because you're just killing time, right?

"The worst example I’ve heard is when someone suggested my wife could find full-time employment when our son was about 6 months old (without hiring a nanny or putting him in daycare), since I work from home and would obviously be able to look after him.

I don’t know if her assumptions regarding child care or working from home were worse.

There’s this assumption from people who are typically unmotivated in jobs they don’t enjoy, that since there’s no one there to watch or manage you, you get to do whatever you want. That’s just not the case when you’re the only one responsible for creating the value in the marketplace that will equate to the dollars you need to survive and thrive."

– Curt Storring, Founder of Liberty Grooming

In fact, it could take some time before those around you come around. Actually, just this week, I had two interesting conversations. One went like this-- Upon hearing that I tend to hire XYZ type of individual, a friend stated "Wait. Hire?" I said "Yeah, I hired XYZ person on for my busine-" He says "What exactly do you mean when you say hire?" I said "You know. Hire. Payroll." And I went on to state I hoped to give her a raise in the coming month, and how my recent rate signed around $35/hr would need to increase before a major event or milestone coming up.... And this person finally just said... "Wow." As if to say "Wow. I just thought this was some hippy gimmick you're doing." On the other hand, I just experienced this conversation the other day: He said, "We ran into Mr. K today. He's really impressed by what you do! He said- She works from home? How does she end up getting a job like that??" I said, "You MAKE IT!" Then they say, "He is actually retiring soon. Maybe you could hire him!" Some people will only "believe it when they see it." They won't believe you until after they SEE your success. And it stings, doesn't it? Because their support in getting you there would have been really nice. But it's just the nature of people (and society) to be skeptical of anything that doesn't fit in their 6x6 box (or cubicle.) The W-2, 9-5, corporate ladder... If it doesn't fit their perception of the word "job," they think you've gone a bit nutso and are trying to be a rebel. These and so many other factors lie beneath the surface of a remote and work from home lifestyle. And the long hours, familial or friend tensions, the business owner hassle - it's not really for everyone. Do you think you're up for it? If so, and you're REALLY willing to work tirelessly at it, it can become something great.